5-day precipitation forecast
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Across the Corn Belt, dry weather prevails, despite an increase in cloudiness. Meanwhile, unusual warmth is further reducing the coverage of any remaining snow across the upper Great Lakes region, including Wisconsin. Tuesday afternoon’s high temperatures in the lower Missouri Valley should generally range from 73 to 78°.

On the Plains, record-setting warmth continues in advance of an approaching cold front. On March 8, daily-record high temperatures included 68° in Pierre, South Dakota, and 64° in Bismarck, North Dakota. Later Tuesday, temperatures could top 80° as far north as Kansas. In some areas, an elevated wildfire threat accompanies the warm, dry, breezy weather. Early Tuesday, slightly cooler air is overspreading Montana, following the cold front’s passage.

In the South, warmer weather is replacing previously cool conditions. Runoff from earlier heavy rain continues to flow from the Ohio River into the lower Mississippi Valley. Currently, minor flooding is occurring along the Mississippi River from near Tiptonville, Missouri, downstream to Osceola, Arkansas.

In the West, windy weather is developing across southern California, the southern Great Basin, and the Four Corners States in advance of an approaching Pacific storm system. Drought continues to stress Southwestern vegetation; on March 7 in Arizona, 88% of rangeland and pastures were rated in very poor to poor condition. Early Tuesday, precipitation is starting to spread inland across northwestern California and western sections of Oregon and Washington.

As the polar jet stream makes a southward dip across the western U.S., cool, showery weather will develop, starting later Tuesday. Western precipitation may linger through week’s end, especially in the central and southern Rockies, where significant snow should fall. Meanwhile, a pair of storm systems will emerge from the West during the next 5 days. The first system should cross the central Plains and upper Midwest around mid-week, accompanied by rain and snow. Some of the heaviest snow should fall from Wyoming to Minnesota. Late in the week, a second, stronger storm will affect central and southern sections of the Rockies and Plains. On March 12-13, heavy snow may develop across the central Rockies and adjacent High Plains, while locally severe thunderstorms could develop across the southern Plains and begin to sweep eastward. Five-day rainfall totals could reach 2 to 4 inches or more from the central and southern Plains into the lower Ohio Valley, with the event likely to continue beyond March 13.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of near- or below-normal temperatures nationwide, except for warmer-than-normal weather in the southern Atlantic region. Meanwhile, near- or below-normal precipitation in much of the western and central U.S. should contrast with wetter-than-normal conditions in the South, East, and lower Midwest.

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Greg Soulje, a professional meteorologist since 1985, offers national agricultural weather forecasts via "This Week in Agribusiness."

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